2-22-18 Education in the News

NJ Spotlight--Poll: Can We Prevent a Parkland Tragedy in New Jersey?

Is there anything that can be done to protect students and teachers from becoming targets of an active shooter?

In the wake of the Parkland, FL, school shooting, which left 17 students and teachers dead, New Jersey parents are asking if their own children are safe and what can be done to make sure a similar tragedy doesn't happen here.

But as our NJ Spotlight story noted yesterday, there are few statewide rules regarding gun violence and school safety, leaving most decisions up to individual districts. Schools are required to conduct at least one security drill each year with law enforcement, students, and teachers; Gov. Phil Murphy has called on law enforcement to increase visibility at schools.

But Murphy, officials, and parents, say more needs to be done.


NJ Spotlight-- February 22, 2018


Jersey Journal—Op-Ed--Are you encouraged by the students rallying for gun control?

Students took to the streets yesterday one week after a school shooting claimed 17 lives at a Florida high school.

Teens across the national also walked out of their classes in solidarity with the survivors of the deadliest high school shooting in modern American history.

Students ascended on the Florida Statehouse, among them more than 100 survivors of the massacre, to call for changes to gun laws, a ban on assault-type weapons and improved care for the mentally ill.

Many complained that they are not being taken seriously by lawmakers.

"We've spoke to only a few legislators and ... the most we've gotten out of them is, 'We'll keep you in our thoughts. You are so strong. You are so powerful,'" said Delaney Tarr, a senior at the high school. "We know what we want. We want gun reform. We want commonsense gun laws. ... We want change."


The Jersey Journal| Updated 6:45 AM; Posted 6:45 AM


Star Ledger—Op Ed--Hired, then fired, hours later. Under Murphy, teachers' union gets veto power | Moran

Paula White won unanimous confirmation last week from the state school board to serve as an assistant commissioner at the Department of Education - and then lost the job a few hours later.

Why would Gov. Phil Murphy want to pull this job away at the last minute from an African-American woman who is unquestionably qualified to do the work?

This remarkably clumsy show of disrespect came after White was introduced to her staff and praised without qualification by both the board president, Arcelio Aponte, and the acting commissioner of education, Lamont Repollet.


Tom Moran| Updated 12:05 AM; Posted Feb 21, 4:59 PM


Star Ledger--Is your school prepared? 7 questions to ask after Florida school shooting

School communities around New Jersey have been reacting in various ways to last week’s mass shooting in Florida: parents in Nutley demanding armed guards and metal detectors after a chilling Instagram post; police charging an East Brunswick student with posting a threat on social media; Edison school officials offering assurances on Facebook that there was no credible threat to the district and announcing creation of a school safety committee to review current procedures.  

There are some state mandates for school security, including safety training for all staff and a minimum of eight drills per year — apart from 10 mandatory fire drills — to prepare students for bomb threats, lock downs, non-fire evacuations and active shooter situations.

But much of what districts do to protect students and staff is up to local school officials, said Fort Lee Deputy Police Chief Patrick Kissane, a member of the New Jersey School Security Task Force, which issued a July 2105 report that included recommendations to improve school security, some of which became law, while others were left as voluntary best practices.

"This is a home-rule state," said Kissane, a board member of the non-profit New Jersey Center for School Safety, an association of law enforcement officers. "Very rarely does the state come out with mandates."


Steve Strunsky | NJ Advance Media| Posted February 21, 2018 at 07:13 AM | Updated February 21, 2018 at 11:44 AM


The Record--School walkouts planned across New Jersey, as students say 'never again' to shootings

Students across New Jersey will join a national walkout on March 14, part of a national show of activism.

Students in schools across New Jersey are planning to walk out of their classrooms on March 14 as part of a national show of activism to call for an end to gun violence in the wake of the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

The students will leave their schools at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes — one for every person killed in the Florida shooting last week. Gov. Phil Murphy, expressing pride in students “showing us the way,” said on Tuesday that the state Education Department will issue guidelines to schools so students can safely protest on that day.

In North Jersey, students mobilized within days of hearing about the walkout, getting the word out on social media and reaching out to administrators to discuss their plans. Teenagers at Ridgewood, Glen Rock, Demarest, River Dell, Lyndhurst, Madison and Mendham are among those who are making plans for the walkout — and more are expected to join the effort as students return from February break.


Hannan Adely, Staff Writer, @AdelyReporter Published 7:59 p.m. ET Feb. 21, 2018 | Updated 8:55 p.m. ET Feb. 21, 2018


NY Times--11 of the Most Dramatic Moments in a Day of Confrontation Over Guns

Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., addressed President Trump at the White House on Wednesday. Credit Tom Brenner/The New York Times

It was a day of tense exchanges, emotion-packed speeches and confrontation as lawmakers, students and parents sparred on Wednesday over what to do about shootings in American schools.

From the nation’s capital to Florida’s State House, people affected by gun violence delivered pain-laced addresses to crowds of passionate supporters, and President Trump listened to a group he had summoned to discuss the problem. There was also some poignant symbolism.

Here are some of the most remarkable moments:


MATTHEW HAAG and MATT STEVENSFEB. February 21, 2018|


Education Week--Trump: Nation Should Consider Arming Teachers to Prevent School Shootings

After hearing the heartbreaking stories of school shooting survivors and of parents who have lost children in massacres, President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the country should seriously consider arming educators and training them to use weapons to deal with mass shootings.

If Aaron Feis, the assistant football coach at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, had a gun, he might have been able to prevent the deaths of 17 students and educators at the Parkland, Fla. school, Trump said during a listening session at the White House with a group of parents, students, and others affected by school violence. 

"If the coach had a firearm in his locker when he ran at this guy ... If he had firearm, he wouldn't have had to run. He would have shot. That would have been the end of it" Trump said. "It's called concealed carry where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them. And it would no longer be a gun-free zone. A gun-free [school] zone, to a maniac, a gun-free zone, is let's go in and attack because people aren't coming at us."


Alyson Klein on February 21, 2018 7:19 PM